August 18, 2015 - 2:33 PM
KAMLOOPS – The timeline and format for how Kamloops residents will be able to weigh-in on the proposed Ajax Mine has been decided.
City council has agreed on a town hall meeting format to ensure the public’s interests are heard early on in the process and then will hold a series of special council meetings to further discuss the input from residents and consultants.
The first special meeting will be to discuss the consultant's preliminary review, which will address questions from the public, shortly after the town hall meeting and fairly early in the 180-day comment and review period. Council will also hold a workshop after the prelimanary review is presented and then another special council meeting will be held for council to give its preliminary response on the application. A final special council meeting will be held towards the end of the review period to present the full consultant's review and for council to settle on an official response to the application.
Coun. Ken Christian was concerned about the scope of the town hall meeting. He said ownership of the Ajax issue belongs with the Ministry of Environment and was ultimately concerned the meeting could turn into 'an open mic evening.' Council agreed to limit all speakers to three minutes at the meeting to help prevent this.
Coun. Tina Lange called the process 'a good map,' adding if more public consultation was deemed necessary then another town hall meeting could be added.
KGHM is expected to submit its application for the Ajax Mine by the end of summer. The company has said it will provide a website outlining the application in 'plain language' once it has been submitted.
Whether a mine will be built on the outskirts of Kamloops will ultimately be decided by the provincial and federal governments. The city is still hiring its own consultant to look at Kamloops-specific concerns and assess the accuracy of technical information expected in the application.
Council has agreed to hire SLR Consulting Ltd. out of Vancouver. The city estimates the review of the application will cost $300,000. Last month council agreed to ask KGHM to contribute to the cost of hiring consultants. Currently, no agreement has been reached.
If approved, the proposed open-pit copper-gold mine will operate on the southwest edge of Kamloops.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015